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QMplus updates: recent performance and Turnitin issues

29 March 2019 Posted in: Announcements, News By: Alysa Bramble

We wish to apologise for the QMplus issues we have been experiencing over the last few weeks. Intermittent performance incidents during peak times have caused the system to slow down and on a few occasions resulted in a brief outage. We understand that this has been inconvenient and we are aware of the impact that this has, especially for some schools who have had assessments in QMplus.

This is not an acceptable service for our online learning environment and we have been working continuously with IT technicians and our external service providers to resolve this as a priority. It has not been a straightforward process as there isn’t a single root cause identified. A number of changes have been made over the past few weeks, each of which has provided some improvement.

What is happening?

There have been two main problems.

The performance issues, which have been narrowed down to a lack of capacity as QMplus reached peak usage, typically between 11:00 and 12:00. There have been maintenance updates to increase capacity to necessary levels over the last two weeks, and on Tuesday, 26th March, we increased the processing power on our servers and the environment has remained stable since. We continue to closely monitor the system and our technicians are considering other optimisation activities.

The other problem is an ongoing Turnitin issue causing problems with assignment submissions.  We will be installing an updated version of the Turnitin plugin on Tuesday, the 2nd April, during our normal at risk period 7-9am. The updated plugin is expected to address the majority of recent issues caused by Turnitin outages, while we continue to work with Turnitin technicians to resolve other issues. We have also updated the error message that students receive when their submission fails to a more helpful one.

What can you do?

IMPORTANT: If you have any major or time sensitive assessments taking place in QMplus please contact the E-Learning Unit by emailing elearning@qmul.ac.uk with the details, including scheduled due dates, or the time of the assessment, so we can keep an even closer eye on the system during this time.

If you continue to experience any outages with QMplus (usually this is intermittent), please report these via the IT Services Helpdesk on https://helpdesk.qmul.ac.uk – where several related tickets will raise an alarm and be escalated to appropriate personnel.

We apologise for the inconvenience that these outages have caused and we thank you for your continued patience whilst we work with our technicians to improve the service and ensure that this does not occur again.

 

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